DENVER (KDVR) — Distance is not a barrier for these two kangaroos. On Wednesday, a male Matschie’s tree kangaroo named Tristan traveled almost 80 miles from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo with a mission to woo Pearl, the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo new to the Denver Zoo.
The two have one goal: to help save their endangered species.
There are only about 2,500 Matschie’s tree kangaroos remaining in the wild in northeastern Papua New Guinea. With logging and mining exploration threatening their species, the International Union for the Conservancy of Nature considers the Matschie’s tree kangaroo endangered, said CMZoo.
The two zoos played cupid, but there’s no funny business going on just yet.
The two kangaroos will live separately in their indoor and outdoor habitats, as tree kangaroos are solitary in the wild. They will be introduced for breeding when the time is right, said CMZoo.
“Tristan has been preparing for this moment for months,” said Amber Callen-Ward, lead keeper in the Australia Walkabout exhibit at CMZoo. “We have been working with him on voluntarily entering his crate and staying calm and comfortable in his crate while we move him around. We want to make this move as low-stress for Tristan and his keeper teams as possible. We have high hopes and total faith in our colleagues at Denver Zoo, and although there’s no guarantee Tristan and Pearl will have babies, we owe it to them and their wild counterparts to try.”
This setup is part of the Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan led by members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums network. The plan tracks genetics with the goal of creating the most genetically diverse population of animals in human care.
While the pair isn’t guaranteed to mate, CMZoo is hopeful.
“With his pointy ears, bulbous pink nose, muscular tail and super-soft chocolate-and-caramel-colored fur, how could she resist?” said CMZoo in a press release.
Tristan isn’t going anywhere. He’s permanently staying at the Denver Zoo at the Australia-themed experience, Down Under, which will open in 2024.